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Thread: A view of the Lake District

  1. #1

    A view of the Lake District

    Possibly one of my weakest areas because it relies so much upon composition of the shot, I can't get away with a cute animal or amazing macro details here.

    View from Cumbria - the Lake District in the UK:

    A view of the Lake District
    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4032/...bc7a0b80_o.jpg
    f8, 1/250sec, ISO 200
    Taken with Canon 400D and Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS L (at the 70mm mark).

    Method of shooting - get out of car - point, focus using AF middle point (generally on the middle of the scene as well...) and click. Sadly I didn't spend much time checking the histogram or using a tripod else I might have caught that the overexposure in the shot. I was able to save most of it, barring the main building, the sides of which are totally blown out. I've managed to cut back quite a bit of that overexposure glare effect and the white walls might get away with being rather lacking in details (just) but its not ideal.


    So where is the advice needed - well all over to be honest, landscape is something that I do want to do well, but is a totally new direction to go in. So aside from the exposure error, which I know how to correct for a single shot and also using multiple shot methods (HDR/tonemapping) and also the shooting time (this was not so bad as the light was starting to sofen and I honestly could not have waited in the spot for pure evening light).
    However composition and shooting method - eg focusing. These are areas where I need and welcome input.

  2. #2

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    Re: A view of the Lake District

    To be honest I can't find much wrong here. I would consider cropping very slightly more on the left side; but I really do mean very slightly, just remove the hint of that second tree on the photo edge.

    You have a few slight problems with shadows, but you couldn't do anything about that. There is a slight yellowish tint to the grass but that is just the light at that time of the day. I think it is probably better to leave it alone as attempting any alteration could well make the situation worse and the trees/moorland do benefit by being a bit on the brownish side.

    So all in all, a very good photo.

  3. #3

    Re: A view of the Lake District

    Quote Originally Posted by Overread View Post
    Method of shooting - get out of car - point, focus using AF middle point (generally on the middle of the scene as well...) and click. Sadly I didn't spend much time checking the histogram or using a tripod else I might have caught that the overexposure in the shot.
    I think you made a really big mistake here in your shooting method. Why get out of the car? Get yourself one of those door clamps for the car to set your camera on. It steadies trhe camera, and allows you to remain dry while your partner pours you some hot coffee from the Thermos, and adjusts the tartan rug around your knees (you don't want to get a chill). I normally play radio3 on the car radio as it soothes the nerves if it's a tense shot.

    Still, you have done pretty well, despite these lapses, and all in all it's a very pretty scene. You are obviously having better weather than I am (stuck in Betwys-y-Coed, North Wales).

  4. #4

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    Re: A view of the Lake District

    I agree with Geoff, it's a very nice shot just as it is. If I recall the 400D, as long as your have the histogram turned on, you'll see what Colin calls the "blinkies" in the replay. So you don't have to try to analyze the histogram, but if it's on, the review will show you lighting problems at a glance. If you don't like having the histogram display turned on because you can't check focus, you can have histogram turned on, but press the "AF Point Selection/Magnify" button during review to pop it up to full screen without changing the menu setting. That way, if you're confident of the focus, just check the histogram, otherwise it's a single button press to see the whole image.

    There are a couple of threads in the "links to useful threads" posting, here, that talk about metering.

    This post, in one of the threads, describes a flow using spot metering that might work well on this kind of scene.

    Cheers,
    Rick

  5. #5
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: A view of the Lake District

    Hi Alex,

    I agree with Geoff, Rob and Rick,
    This isn't bad (at all), you have done a good "rescue job" on it in PP.

    If anything, it leaves me wanting to see more and I wondered whether a second shot to the right, then stitched as a panorama would be good.

    I did check the verticals on the houses though, some of the wall edges and corners look leaning, and yet others don't, given it's position in frame and the focal length, I don't see how it could be a lens distortion, most odd (probably my eyes ).

    It is definitely one to be viewed large though, I am so glad you gave us the link to the big version, I would suggest you place images like this
    A view of the Lake District

    The forum will display it at about 700px and clicking on it opens the bigger version in the lytebox, especially if your browser is in full screen mode (f11 toggles this on and off).

    Regarding focusing, I always 'wing it' and choose as small an aperture as feels right (usually f8 or f11 for a shot like this), then focus about 1/3 to 1/2 into the scene, hoping that's the hyperfocal distance

    Even at 70mm and f8, this looks fine to my eyes, the distant hills are sharp, which to me is important.

    Cheers,

  6. #6

    Re: A view of the Lake District

    Many thanks for the compliments and advice all!

    The yellowish tint is most likley the lighting at that time of the day and the result of me fiddling with the white balance in editing. Still since its a more lighting side aspect I think that it works to keep it as is as you say.

    Carregwen - heh well I had to get out the car because to get the shot I'd have had to shoot through the driver You do make some good points, but sadly I lack both car and partner to make the plan work. Certainly if I had a car the window mounts/beanbags would be a definite option. It was also more of a driving day around the District so no real time sadly to wait for the lighting to "perfect". Oh and weather wise was pure luck - the morning was heavy overcast and rain!

    Rick - checking the histogram is something that I do normally do as much as I can and I find it a fantastic feature of DSLRs in being able to readjust settings for a near to perfect exposure as possible. Sadly in this case I suspect the blinkies were blinking, but that I just missed them in the shot. I'll check out the metering threads you mention, the 400D sadly lacks spot metering and to be honest I've left mine in evaluative metering and never changed it - just got used to how it works in different scenes and adjusting the exposure compensation as needed if the meter is slightly off.

  7. #7

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    Re: A view of the Lake District

    Quote Originally Posted by Overread View Post
    Rick - checking the histogram is something that I do normally do as much as I can and I find it a fantastic feature of DSLRs in being able to readjust settings for a near to perfect exposure as possible. Sadly in this case I suspect the blinkies were blinking, but that I just missed them in the shot. I'll check out the metering threads you mention, the 400D sadly lacks spot metering and to be honest I've left mine in evaluative metering and never changed it - just got used to how it works in different scenes and adjusting the exposure compensation as needed if the meter is slightly off.
    Sorry, you're right about the metering modes. But "Partial Metering" is 9% of the scene ("Spot Metering" is 4%). So it would still help a lot when the scene is cut in half by a shadow, or where the extreme is the sky.

    I know what you mean about using EC, and that does suggest another possibility: use automatic exposure bracketing. This also gives you an option to do high dynamic range.

    But from your response, I think you know this, and just missed it in this shot, so I'll shut up now.

    Cheers,
    Rick

  8. #8

    Re: A view of the Lake District

    Dave so sorry I didn't reply to your post - I had this opened on a tab for ages before replying and I never thought to refresh so I totally missed your post first time around. Many thanks for your compliments on the rescue of the image and on the focus

    And yes the presentation of more of the scene is something that I felt very keenly though the day - the 70-200mm makes quite a good lens for picking out scenes in the landscape, but I was wishing for something wider the whole day - another lens or two to add to the bag. Panorama is of course another option if I remember to use it in the field, though I prefer composing through the viewfinder more (I can at least the the whole image at once then).

    Thanks for the image posting tip - I didn't know the site operated an auto resizing code - certainly I do wish flickr gave us 700pixel versions of images - 500 is as you say too small often and 1000 just a bit to big for forums.

    Rick = yah an HDR/tonemapped image is certainly a possiblity (though I would actualy have to read my manaul for how to use auto bracketing - I've never touched it thus far).

  9. #9
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: A view of the Lake District

    Quote Originally Posted by Overread View Post
    Dave so sorry I didn't reply to your post - I had this opened on a tab for ages before replying and I never thought to refresh so I totally missed your post first time around.

    ~

    the 70-200mm makes quite a good lens for picking out scenes in the landscape, but I was wishing for something wider the whole day - another lens or two to add to the bag. Panorama is of course another option if I remember to use it in the field, though I prefer composing through the viewfinder more (I can at least the the whole image at once then).

    ~

    though I would actualy have to read my manaul for how to use auto bracketing - I've never touched it thus far
    No worries, I have done that myself (and still do )

    I think a wider lens would just waste pixels on sky and foreground for this kind of shot, pano would be preferred.

    That said, I don't do it, mainly because I'd have to read up on how to do it

    Regarding the bracketing, in fact anything on the camera, I just trawl the menu options until I find things like that.

    Sadly, that's not a viable option with Elements/PS for panoramas

    You may call me 'lazy'

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    Re: A view of the Lake District

    Quote Originally Posted by Overread View Post
    However composition and shooting method - eg focusing. These are areas where I need and welcome input.
    You say, in your first post, about needing input on focusing. What you have done here works for this image. And Dave's advice works a lot of the time. Indeed, the article I cite below makes the comment, "A simple cheat that will work most of the time, is to focus one third of the way into the scene. Whilst this works up to a point, to obtain maximum depth of field, you will need to calculate the hyperfocal distance correctly!"

    So, if you really want to concentrate on landscape and realise that, at some time, you'll be wanting good focus right across the distance range (from relatively close up to the far distance), then a bit of time spent getting to grips with Hyperfocal Distance will pay off.

    About the best (and most straightforward) article I've found on the subject is this.

    As for composition - keep on looking at the work of others (once you've been through the tutorials that explain the 'rules'). At the moment I've got books by Ansel Adams, Paul Strand, Edward Weston and Mark Power ('cause I'm into B & W) out from the library. Just soaking in what they've done is a good way of learning.
    Last edited by Donald; 26th March 2010 at 09:29 AM.

  11. #11

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    Re: A view of the Lake District

    Quote Originally Posted by Overread View Post
    Possibly one of my weakest areas because it relies so much upon composition of the shot, I can't get away with a cute animal or amazing macro details here.

    View from Cumbria - the Lake District in the UK:

    A view of the Lake District
    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4032/...bc7a0b80_o.jpg
    f8, 1/250sec, ISO 200
    Taken with Canon 400D and Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS L (at the 70mm mark).

    Method of shooting - get out of car - point, focus using AF middle point (generally on the middle of the scene as well...) and click. Sadly I didn't spend much time checking the histogram or using a tripod else I might have caught that the overexposure in the shot. I was able to save most of it, barring the main building, the sides of which are totally blown out. I've managed to cut back quite a bit of that overexposure glare effect and the white walls might get away with being rather lacking in details (just) but its not ideal.


    So where is the advice needed - well all over to be honest, landscape is something that I do want to do well, but is a totally new direction to go in. So aside from the exposure error, which I know how to correct for a single shot and also using multiple shot methods (HDR/tonemapping) and also the shooting time (this was not so bad as the light was starting to sofen and I honestly could not have waited in the spot for pure evening light).
    However composition and shooting method - eg focusing. These are areas where I need and welcome input.
    Hi,
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  12. #12
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: A view of the Lake District

    You don't need auto bracketing for panorama and not for this shot if you mean going right to left where this image is the right one; (aspect ratio needs consideration and I prefer 16:9 to 2.1) use of a GND filter might be of use since the camera is more into the sun.

    I try to visualise thirds in the panorama but usually get it wrong but also I know that hyperfocal distance isn't a problem in a scene like this and just try to think what the effect is of doffing out the distance for instance which is usually the wrong thing to do but anyway your lens seems to have a hyperfocal distance around 30 paces or metres at f8 which isn't very far in landscape terms, when set at its widest anyway. It is 70mm isn't it.

    You will need a tripod and software like autostitch otherwise invest in a Nodal Ninja head which should keep you occupied for a few minutes and remember that things move and you don't want them in more than one frame although I find it rather amusing and nobody seems to notice anyway.

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